Bible Society of South Africa

All pray together - 15 May 2024

By Ben Fourie

Bible text(s)

42They spent their time in learning from the apostles, taking part in the fellowship, and sharing in the fellowship meals and the prayers.

Praying is a very private activity – so most of us believe. In Matthew 6:5-6, Jesus himself taught his followers not to pray on the street corners with the purpose to be seen by everyone, but to “go to your room, close the door, and pray to your Father, who is unseen”. Should we never pray, then, where others can hear and see us? Certainly not! To the contrary, Jesus did it often. Although he usually went to remote places to pray, we also see him praying in public for the sick, for children and at the feeding of a large crowd.

According to the verse that we have been busy with the last few days, fellowship prayer was also high on the list of the first church. Public prayer was widely practised by the Jews in Jesus’ time. In one of the parables, Jesus tells us about two people who went to the temple to pray. According to Acts 3:1, Peter and John also went to the temple at three o’clock in the afternoon, most probably to pray. It was the custom to pray three times a day and many people used to go to the temple for prayer. These prayers were mostly prayed loudly. The first believers would have kept up this tradition for quite some time, also when coming together to worship. It is still the practice in churches when they come together to worship.

Inner room prayer is your special time with God. It is the space in which you can share your deepest secrets, your biggest worries and fears, and also your biggest joys with your Father. It is the place where you can pray for your family and friends. This is where you can worship and praise God in private, and tell him your needs.

Public prayer is just as important. Something different is taking place when we share in public prayer. It is not only one person who is doing the praying and praising, but the whole gathering of believers. This is the place where the whole fellowship of believers is standing before God to pray for the world. Without these fellowship prayers, the church becomes powerless. It is here that we go forward in the power of the Holy Spirit, to bring about the kingdom of God. The first church believed in this way of prayer and so should we.

Prayer: Lord, you taught us the “Our Father” prayer. Please teach us again how we, as members of the church, should be praying for the world. Amen

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